Obsessions and high prey drive - new rescue 6 months old GSD
I need help with my new rescue GSD. I have had more than 5 rescue GSDs in my life time, 2 of them were WGSD. My last WGSD just died in January this year, she was almost 14 yrs. I have been looking to adopt another GSD and finally got one from city shelter last week. She is about 5-6 months old, GSD mix. When picking her up last Sunday, she was very gentle and quiet. I was very happy that she is not hyper like the dogs I had. As days progressing, she becomes more hyper, demanding, barking and high prey drive. I walk her 2 short walk and 1 long walk daily and let her run in the backyard. She tries to kill the birds, squirrels and feral cats. I have cats myself, I have to separate her from them. All my dogs are cat friendly. While she was in the shelter, she has kennel cough and on mediation. She has not been spayed due to kennel cough. I will have her spay as soon as my vet check her up.
These behaviors worry me. She doesn't like movements, shadows, chasing and biting her tail. If I'm in her room, she goes nuts because of my and her shadows on the floor, she digs and tries to bite the shadows on the floor. On the first day walking on busy street, she tried to run after passing cars, after a few yanks and 2 days later, she hasn't chased much. She barked at a man who walked very fast passing us. I just notice about fast movements. The first 3 days, she was on the main floor with my sisters. Because my sisters are walking and shadow movements, she was non stopped barking and biting the computer chair wheels. I moved her to a small room on ground floor next to my room.
I have had her for almost a week. I don't know her background because in her record stated that she was found.
This is her daily routine.
5 AM wake up to go backyard to release herself, breakfast then go for a walk for 15 minutes. I leave for work at 7AM, she is in a room by herself.
10AM my sister takes her to backyard, running around for 30 minutes.
3-4PM dinner and go to backyard again.
5PM I come home take her for a 30 mins walk.
9PM go to backyard and last short walk.
She sleeps with light off which she likes- no shadows!
There are 2 types of doors between her room and my room. One is french door which she can see my room and my cats, another is a solid door. She constantly barks at my cats and I have to shut the solid door which is most of the time.
I train her to sit, down, give paw in the evening. She doesn't know NO command yet. She is a smart dog, fast learner and would be good for police dog or sniffing dog. She knows how to get home on her 3rd day. She has blue spot in the back of her tongue, mix with chow chow?. So far, I don't think she is dog aggressive; because I don't let her see my other dogs due to her kennel cough. I plan to take her to training school after she is spayed. I never had experience with this type of high prey dog, I'm afraid that one day she may kill my cat or any animal in the yard.
Is there a way to correct or control her behaviors I listed above? Or I should return her to shelter. I have unsuccessfully put her in submissive position, Cesar Milan technique, she would not stay down.
Thank you in advance for any help.
i am gonna venture out on this and advise you work too long of hours to properly train this girl
30 min barely qualifies as a long walk and i am sure she has pent up energy to spare
i would love to see a pic if you have one
blue spot does not mean chow automatically but from her looks perhaps we could guess
as for light or shadow chasing as you describe it sounds like someone played with her with a laser 'toy' to wear her out probably
then her behavior problems arose and they either let her go or even owner surrendered and her paperwork does not reflect this
if you do return her please note her bad habits or she will wind up being adopted out to unsuspecting people yet again
i will add that many dogs need antidepressants to get over this behavior
if you do keep her invest in a crate for when you are gone or you are liable to come home to some dead kitties
I definitely think that you can work with her, but it's going to take some times for you both.
I would definintely amp up the exercise though. While I don't think walks are usless, as some do, I do think that a puppy with this lind of energy needs to be exercised way more. I mean honestly how tired are you after these walks? Just think how much more energy she has then you in general and ask if you think she really is tired after. So I while she's young, and you don't want high impact type activities for her.. maybe a walk in conjunction with a good game of fetch where she's sprinting to get her toy would tire her out much more.
She is also still so new to your house that I think you need to focus on bonding and building your relationship with her. I have never rescued, but I have heard may people start with a 2 week shutdown, maybe that is something that would help you in this situation.
In regards to the tail chasing. distract, distract, distract!!! This I do have experience with. Titan was an avid tail chaser from about 4 months and on. Luckily he didn't bite his tail, he'd only catch it and repeat. BUT he was doing this for 2 reason. The most common reason, is he was being understimulated. I had a routine similar to yours and it just wasn't cutting it. He was essentially going stir crazy and trying to find a way to tire himself out so he became obsessed with chasing his tail. The second reason is anxiety of sorts. He isn't a nervous wreck dog.. but when he gets into a new environment or there are and overwhelming amount of new people around.. he will begin to chase his tail until he is comfortable.
I dealt with this by distraction, either play or command with play. When he would start chasing his tail I would stop him and make him lay down. When he layed down we played or I treated him. Mostly it was distraction with play. Timing has to be right though. There was a time where he used it to get my attention because he knew I would play if he did it. I started to have to give him commands before playing so he knew he was being rewarded for listening. It takes time and patience with that one. He used to sneak off to do it, and still does on occasion... Also, look into vinegar or bitter apple to spray on the parts she bites, thay may deter her. Here are some links from when he started his tail chasing...
There was some great advice in those threads about that.
For the shadows, I'm really not sure, I almost would say that distraction is key too. You dont' want to keep her inthe dark all the time so she is going to have to get used to it. As stated above, some dogs do need medication, but not all. If you have the time to work with her, you could be really successful with consistency and dedication. Do you know her history or anything?
My suggestion would be if you don't have time for her in the way she needs, then return her and note ALL htese things so they know about them and can place her in an appropriate home. That and also that she doesn't like cats.
As all creatures, dogs have 4 ages: puppyhood, the age of adolescence, adulthood and old age. The behaviour changers with every age, 6 months is an age when dog's energy really bursts out, like human teenagers, young dogs become naughty, imaginative and moody. This age is the age of puberty hatching, if you look at her as she was a teenage girl, you might understand her better.
I don't want to repeat the words of others, that she needs much more physical exercise than you provide, I just wanted to say, that you should look for some large area like woods to walk her on 8 metre long line, and also some enclosed area where you can let her run off leash and start training recall. It is really bad to be leash dependent, and letting her to run freely for an hour or two will solve many problems in the future. Dogs who are always limited by the leash or space grow agressive and easily excited by anything unusual. Her sharp reactions to cats in the street and to some passing walker are easily explainable, she is simply thursty for fresh strong emotions to experience. Her behaviour, probably is a result of being confined in a small space in time when her body and spirit needed space and freedom the most. If you don't let that vapour out of her on a daily basis, the consequences could be drastic - energetic youngster might grow into agressive individual. That is how originally the pitbulls were raised for fights - they were kept in pits starting from times they were puppies, and knew only one man who fed them. Chained for life dogs are agressive too.
So, don't be afraid of anything, don't panic about her young age behaviour, but don't waste time either. In fact, you don't have much time, you should realize that, you have to bring her back to normal before she is one and half year old. She wasn't socialized, but it doesn't mean you cannot go to socializing classes, where she can learn to be among other puppies of her age. It could be better to find a friend for her, and better if it was a dog of a good behaviour she could copy from. They need friends of their kind, you know. There are ways and methods to make her to sense that your cats are the members of the pack, and if you ask questions about how to make it possible, many people will provide you with good advises in this Forum.
This evening, I took her to my vet to check on her kennel cough. I told her about her issues and got a trainer name from her. She will be spayed after her medication. Then I will take her to dog trainer to evaluate her.
My last GSDs pack all died. In 2000, I adopted 2 GSDs and I had 2 other dogs, they played in the backyard until they tired. I know this dog needs playmate to burn out her energy. I can manage the exercise, but the shadow chasing is unbearable. She expects me to move, so she can bite the floor and bark. Now, I sit down when I’m in her room, so she will not see my shadow. She doesn’t like movements at all. I can’ even mop the floor! But when she’s a lone, she’s clam and quiet.
I suspected that her previous owner had kids and they drove her nuts. She has some training and is used to car. She walked into the crate while I was setting up for her. I have 36” for her and a new 48” is on the way. Today, she doesn’t pull much or lunge after passing cars. She’s too tired from a trip to the vet.
Thanks to all for your advice. I will definitely return her if I can’t provide her the proper life style. Hopefully, spaying her calm her down a bit. Then, I will work on cats issue.
Update: To my surprise, she hasn't chased her tail and shadow that much any more. This week is her second week with me. Now, I need to work on her barking at the cats. :)
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